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ART in unlikely places

Airport Art courtesy of the Essential Guide 2012

The art galleries of Spokane and Coeur d’Alene are vibrant and diverse, but you can also discover lesser known artwork in underground venues and unlikely places. The thrill of finding something not everyone sees only adds to the excitement.

Hidden Abstractionists

A basement and an old storage space are the first locations of two of Spokane’s favorite artist studios. Ben Joyce, the artist who creates semi-abstract compositions of Google Earth topography, calls the basement of the historic Luminaria building on South Madison his studio. You can visit his wondrous geographical paintings, part of noteworthy private collections around the world, during First Friday Art Walks.

Abstract expressionist Edward Gilmore envisioned an unlikely place to find great art when he created *Studio 66 in an old storage space. Tucked away and off the beaten path, this gritty warehouse showcases artists with a modern edge and invites viewers into an oasis of brilliance.

Dine and Be Cultured

Enjoy a wonderful meal and take in the regional artwork at Scratch Restaurant & Lounge with locations in both Spokane and Coeur D’Alene. Displayed on the rustic exposed brick walls are works of notable artists. You can also find treasures on the walls of Taste Café & Gourmet-To-Go. The art is rotated on a monthly basis, so you can always find something new as you enjoy your morning muffin.

Places of Learning

Clearstory Gallery, specializing in spiritual visual art, can be found on the mezzanine of the Life Center Church near Spokane Falls Community College. In addition to the gallery, there is art throughout the church, including nurseries and youth rooms full of murals. On First Friday Art Walks, wander the gallery as live music drifts into the twilit mezzanine.

Another place of learning is an art gallery in a bookstore, or rather, a bookstore in an art gallery. Tinman Art Gallery in North Spokane is an independent bookstore showcasing a breadth of regional artists’ work. Browse the contemporary novels and art books, some penned by local authors, as you take in the current exhibit.

Welcome to Spokane

Your first few moments in Washington can be spent in a gallery. The Spokane International Airport’s concourses abound with regional artwork in a variety of styles and mediums. If you fly into Concourse C, check out T.C. Quinn’s aerial mural of Spokane’s first airport and the refueling of the first airplane to make a nonstop transcontinental round-trip flight.

If you were wondering, you can also see a super-sized appliance on your travels. Ken Yuhasz “Aer-O-Toaster” is installed adjacent to the baggage claim area. The local landscape and waterways provided the inspiration for Steven Vallentyne Adams’ kiln-cast glass panels in the A/B Concourse baggage claim area. Spending time in an airport suddenly got better.

And of course, as you are visiting the many celebrated vineyards of Washington state, take in the art and artistry of the wine-tasting rooms. If you’d like to treat yourself to an education in underground or lesser known art, plan a day of exploration in Spokane or Coeur d’Alene.

*Studio 66 has since closed its doors.
Article published in The Essential Guide 2012

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